Legal AlertNewsThe Constitutional Court Rendered a Decision on the Application Concerning an Allegation that the Right to Request the Protection of Personal Data within the Scope of the Right to Respect Privacy Has Been Violated due to Work Hour Tracking with a Fingerprint Registration System

9 May 2022
The Constitutional Court Decision dated 10.03.2022 and numbered 2018/11988 (“Decision”) published in the Official Gazette dated 19.04.2022 and numbered 31814 pertains to the allegation that right to request the protection of personal data within the scope of the right to respect privacy has been violated due to work hour tracking with a fingerprint registration system.
According to the application form and its annexes, and to the information and documents accessed by the Constitutional Court through the National Judiciary Informatics System, the case subjected to the Decision eventuated as follows:
  • The Applicant works as an officer in the Municipality of Söke (‘‘Institution’’) and the Applicant’s fingerprints were recorded by the Institution upon the start of work hour tracking with a fingerprint system.
  • The Applicant objected to the fingerprint registration and the tracking work hours with a fingerprint registration system and demanded the cancellation of the application arguing that fingerprints are accepted as personal information which enables the physical identification of a person within the scope of privacy and the respective right is protected in the Constitution and international conventions.
  • Upon the refusal by the Institution, the Applicant filed a lawsuit requesting the annulment of the administrative act and the court decided to annul the administrative act.
  • The Institution appealed the court decision. The court decided to reject the case with the acceptance of the appeal application. 
  • Upon the notification of the court decision, the Applicant made an individual application to the Constitutional Court.
The Constitutional Court evaluated that: 
  • Pursuant to article 20 of the Constitution and Article 6 of the Personal Data Protection Law numbered 6698, as a sensitive personal data, biometric data may be process with a grant of an explicit consent or may be processed without consent if it is explicitly stipulated by the law. 
  • There is no regulation in the legislation that determines the basic rules and principles regarding the processing of the sensitive personal data for the purpose of work hour tracking or employee discipline, and in this context, the use of biometric data-based tracking systems. 
  • The Applicant has not given consent to the processing of her/his sensitive personal data, and the interference which subjected to the application does not meet the legality requirements since the processing and use of biometric data in the monitoring of the employee’s compliance with work hours is not specifically stipulated in the legislation.
  • The processing of the aforementioned personal data constitutes an interference with the right to request the protection of personal data within the scope of right to respect privacy which is guaranteed in the Constitution.
As a result of its evaluation, The Constitutional Court decided that:
  • The allegation regarding the violation of the right to request the protection of personal data within the scope of the right to respect privacy is acceptable,
  • The right to request the protection of personal data within the scope of the right to respect privacy, which is guaranteed in Article 20 of the Constitution, has been violated.
You can access the full Turkish text of the Decision via the link below.